Must watch: Keeping it pure documentary on NZ climate change

by Gareth on January 24, 2014

This weekend’s episode of the new Keeping It Pure documentary series on Prime TV looks at how we’re addressing climate change issues in NZ. It screens at 8-30pm on Sunday and looks like required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. Last weekend’s programme is being repeated on Saturday evening at 8-30 if you need to catch up, but set the recorder for future episodes — they won’t be getting repeats.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiwiiano January 25, 2014 at 12:21 am

We should also be keeping a heads-up for James Cameron’s “Years of Living Dangerously” doco due out shortly. You’d think that NZ TV would jump at the chance to show it here but I checked with TV1, TV3 and Prime/Sky and naaaah…. not interested!!!
Maybe I should check with Maori TV.

for the trailer.

Gareth January 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm
nigelj January 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Its a question of who pulls the strings and what interests prevail. You can bet if it was a documentary on why we need more oil, it would be on all channels. Sadly.

viv k January 26, 2014 at 9:21 pm

There is a lot of good information in the programme. Unfortunately it reminds my daughter of her cooking dvds at school as far as presentation goes (but slightly better :-) )

nigelj January 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I’m just watching the prime documentary on climate change in NZ, while sort of trying to work on the computer at the same time, plus post this comment. I need a drink.

Good programme. I think its presented quite nicely from my point of view, but maybe not so well pitched to young people.

I love that Tesla electric car. Low emissions, fast, great looking, cheap to run, and probably very reliable. This is the way of the future, and so many people aren’t seeing the obvious.

Manfredd January 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

The hopeful adoption of the axiomatic term ‘climate change’ is understandable, and indeed a necessary expansion of context given the inconvenient absence of statistically significant warming for seventeen years. The UK Met office recently released its global temp. of 2013. They, as others do, highlight the statistically significant absence of warming for 17 yrs.

Since 1997 HadCrut4 shows:

and GISS shows:

Elsewhere, the various global temperature measures show:
[link removed]

and for the same period also including atmospheric CO2 conc.
[link removed]

and for a wider perspective over approximately the last 11,000 yrs.
[link removed]

and again, over the preceding 450,000 yrs.

and for a stunning perspective of GISS global temps deg.F since 1880:

The following could be helpful:

Finally, for entertainment and possibly to cool the fevered brow, check out the unofficial record low temperature recorded by Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on board NASA’s Aqua satellite and by Landsat 8, a satellite launched early this year by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey of -93C in East Antarctica.

Gareth January 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm

I’ve allowed this through because it’s your first comment, Manfredd, but before posting any further comments, please take the time to review Hot Topic’s comment policy. This comment is off-topic here, and should have been placed in an open thread. Note also that Hot Topic is not a platform for you to spam with long-debunked nonsense. And if you’re going to use ridiculously long links, please learn enough html to embed them properly so that they don’t break the site layout.

Gareth January 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

PS: You might want to reflect on why the body established – in 1988 – to look at the issue was called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

nigelj January 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Manfredd you have posted a seriers of graphs several of which dont have sources, labels, title pages. Thanks so much for wasting my time.

Rob Taylor January 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

How sad that Manfred, despite our best efforts over at Climate Conversation, is still unable to distinguish between heat and temperature.

No doubt he is galled that the “Pure” documentary makers did not feel the need to allude to any “controversy” or “scepticism” re climate change, and also felt no need to “balance” the scientists’ comments with, say, the random mutterings of a water diviner, astrologer or retired engineer turned climate crank.

I look forward to next week’s “Pure” episode on water quality.

Manfredd January 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Actually Gareth, I rather thought my post pertinent, current and germane to the cooling-topic at hand ‘NZ climate change’. Sorry you removed the informative links. When is a long link too long? BTW it is inaccurate to describe my post as spam. Your site is the sole beneficiary of my communication. Neither is clear what you are calling ‘long-debunked nonsense’…

[Long list of long-debunked nonsense removed. GR]

Gareth January 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Didn’t read the comment policy, did you? Or take the explicit direction to post in an open thread.

See for why your “pause” is meaningless misdirection.

noelfuller January 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Very well put together I thought. Take home message:
there are all these things we can do, which some are doing. But the government is not interested in backing anything effective.

I too got a kick out of seeing that Tesla Roadster pull away. If only … ?

Gareth January 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm
noelfuller January 27, 2014 at 8:57 pm

ahem! You did read this bit – did you?

“the difference this time it that it is going to be more affordable than ever.”


Gareth January 27, 2014 at 9:14 pm

There’s affordable, then there’s my bank balance… ;-)

Need to sell a lot more truffle…

Thomas January 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Yes, I have been looking at this one too. But its toooo dear new.
But perhaps in a couple of years one can buy a used one at price that would make it possible. Also by then the verdict about the battle between reality in daily use and prospectus gloss will become apparent.
One issue I have with this is: If you drive out of the initial 50Km plug in range and the generator kicks in, say you go 200Km that trip, will you arrive somewhere with a pretty full battery thanks to the petrol generator (defeating the plug in idea)? How can you tell the car that you will be ‘home soon’ and to allow you to get there when the battery is down to say 15% so that you can then use the spare capacity to draw and store energy from the grid?
As otherwise you would more often than not have no significant ‘room’ in the battery at the end of the petrol assisted drive to use the plug-in feature. Without ‘premonition’ of what you are planing to do in the next 50Km, this car won’t perhaps be able to deliver the plug in promise? But perhaps they have sorted this out somehow. Worth a question to the dealer.
BTW we have the diesel version of the same car to augment the electric starlet and it does use only 5.8L/100km on long journeys on flatish roads. Not bad too.

nigelj January 28, 2014 at 9:23 am

Thomas, are you sure you arent confusing the Tesla, with the Toyota Prius or similar Hybrids? The Tesla roadster is completely electric, and has no petrol backup, and goes about 350 kms on a full charge. The Prius combines electric with petrol backup.

Thomas January 29, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I was referring to the Mitsubushi Outlander PEV that will be released in NZ in April and to which Gareth has linked above.

Kiwiiano January 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

Has anyone checked the manufacturing footprints of these behemoths? I’m rather hoping to see electric Piaggio Bees (aka TukTuk) or the like. Freely conceding of course that they wouldn’t be as convenient or comfortable (esp for folk who live up country) but sooner or later we are going to have to accept that the golden age of limitless resources must come to an end.

Phil Scadden January 30, 2014 at 9:55 am

not that vehicle specifically, but you can find useful material in hawkins 2012
with critical corrections in However, the lifecycle cost is dominated by fuel use not manufacturing. The size of vehicle is going to have more impact due to amount of fuel used rather than initial cost. The studies above consider energy cost for manufacture is from FF (a fair assumption for quite a while to come) and the fuel use of lifecycle is considered from typical European mix, Natural gas, and with coal, so you can pretty much ignore that use component for NZ. has a very US-centric look at the issue but its interesting reading. Battery tech is the achilles heel for EVs on many different fronts including energy cost for manufacture.

Gary Young January 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

On the question of range I notice an item in today’s NZ Herald that Elon Musk has arranged enough recharging stations in the US that it is now possible to drive coast to coast across the USA with a Tesla.

Remember, there was once a time in the early days of the motor car when petrol stations as we know them now simply did not exist.

In the case of electric vehicles it doesn’t matter whether the car or the service station has to be developed first. The need and the solution will grow up together over time.

Beaker January 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Add to that the ease of putting in three phase quick chargers at many locations. No one has this facility at home so a 20min home charge is not likely, but supermarkets do, many businesses do, and petrol stations do. Having two small kids I dream of a motorway services toilet stop of less than 20min. Without the kids I would be well over 20min myself if I added in a (really bad) espresso.
As UK diesel prices below £1.30/l are now a distant dream, I have queued in the car more than 20min before I even got to a pump that was 2p/l less than the average.

Phil Scadden January 30, 2014 at 10:51 am

I cant comment on the Outlander, but can comment from Prius. Battery is charged by braking as well as generator and it uses electric when it can. I live at top of hill so by itself, it will arrive home with petrol motor running (for the extra power) and battery could be fully charged. This is problematic because when we leave, we will be going downhill and if battery fill, then wasting energy. However, we normally flick it to EV mode at bottom of street (where hill flattens) and do remaining 1/2 km on electric to pull down the battery. Unlike the Prius, the Outlander is mainly driven by electrics so I would imagine you can do similar.

Thomas January 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Same here. I have made an all electric Toyota Starlet for all the short distance runs. We live on a bit of a hill.
Initially I had a regen-breaking system but starting in the morning with a full battery downhill meant that the controllers blew up after a short use due to over voltage conditions.
Now I have a simple serial motor, no regen breaking and it works a lot better and seems to be very reliable.
Besides, an electric car shows how energy hogging it is to live on a hill. Without cars, if we all had to lug our supplies up home, we would all want to live close to town in the flat…

Phil Scadden January 30, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Hey, good luck doing that in Dunedin. I walk to and from work which gives me exercise as well, but not so great for lugging the groceries home.

A lot of the Prius efficiency comes from the regen braking. You lose not having it.

noelfuller January 31, 2014 at 6:51 am

The closest supermarket to me is down a hill. I gather it’s good for me to walk up it. I have a little shopping trolley that makes hauling a full load of groceries uphill relatively easy – my best transport investment ever!

Bob Bingham January 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

There was quite a bit on converting our transport to renewable electricity but they could have mentioned the economic benefits. Our oil import bill is near $50 billion. If we converted 10% of or transport we would save $5 billion and make good progress on our CO2 budget.

noelfuller January 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Actually I think I recall the Tesla man saying something like that.

John ONeill January 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Can’t remember the name of the book offhand ( about zeroing NZ emissions ) but the author claimed that a switch to electric vehicles would see our battery import bill equaling or exceeding the cost of the fuel it replaced. So not much change to the balance of trade ( without significant improvements in battery life or cost ), but a big change in who we’re sending the cash to, and a major improvement in our carbon footprint – as long as our electricity is still mostly carbon neutral.
Phil Scadden’s link, by eyeball, shows electricity demand doubled in about 25 years from 1975 and then continued growing but more slowly. Hydro production grew little, and its share went down from about 85% to about 50-60%. Geothermal and some wind don’t bring renewables up to the 1975 share; gas and coal show big fluctuations, covering dry hydro years. Assuming coal has about double the carbon footprint of gas for electricity production, most of the CO2 from the electricity sector was from gas except for 2004-6 and 2008. Power demand will probably keep growing a bit faster than population, and the big four power companies, soon all semi-privatised, are unlikely to build much more geothermal or wind for a while. Let’s hope we don’t get any droughts.

Phil Scadden January 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Where did that figure come from? According to Statistics NZ petroleum and products was 8B in 2012 while exports of oil were 2B.

I’m all for electrification but I doubt it will help trade bottom line in the short term. In longer term (when can rely on recycling and have energy infrastructure in place), then it should.

John ONeill January 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm

I think the book was ‘ From Smoke to Mirrors ‘ by Kevin Cudby, about the future of transport in New Zealand. Sorry I can’t recall his prescription for what should happen, just that line about battery import costs equaling fuel import costs if we went mostly electric. Of course fuel and battery prices could both change.
You queried me as well, Phil about low gas prices in US suppressing new wind projects. I was mainly going on a report about T Boone Pickens, the Texan gas billionaire who proposed switching to wind for electricity and to gas for transport, bitching about how he wished he’d never got into wind, but when I googled him he seemed to have cheered up again.

Beaker January 28, 2014 at 9:46 am

Power demand will probably keep growing a bit faster, so bring back project Hayes, add lots of smaller wind farm proposals and represent the externality of fossil fuel use through a carbon tax.
As for the cost of battery imports, NZ is paying for the import of engines, transmissions and clutch plates on every fossil fuel car. Not saying that batteries are a free lunch, but if you are going to start loading such costs on an electric car, be balanced.
Anyway, the trend in battery prices is down. Laptops used to be flashy items, expensive status hardware. My current 17inch laptop cost less than the now ubiquitous smartphone.

John ONeill January 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Electric cars should be much cheaper to run as regards consumables like brake pads, and they don’t need clutch plates or gear boxes. Electric motors are much simpler than IC, so should be cheaper unless neodymium gets really expensive. There’s just no clear path yet to a battery with the low weight, long range and long service life of a fossil burner. I heard the Israeli guy who had a battery swap scheme had gone bankrupt. Maybe Tesla or Mitsubishi can crack the problem, but it’s a hard one.

Gary Young January 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

“the author claimed that a switch to electric vehicles would see our battery import bill equaling or exceeding the cost of the fuel it replaced.”

I would be interested in seeing the analysis behind the author’s assertion.

I’m not sure I agree with the assumption that an electric car fleet would require a battery importation industry. Surely the car has it’s batteries installed at the time of manufacture and it then retains them for it’s working life. Importing of new batteries would be required only in sufficient quantity to deal with manufacturing defect, accident or failure. How could it be possible that this quantity could equal or exceed in value the amount of oil-based fuel currently needed to power our internal combustion engined fleet?

noelfuller January 28, 2014 at 11:31 am

Once upon a time the nominal working life of a complex mechanical contraption was said to be 20 years. I suspect better engineering has extended that time. Of course the rich like to change vehicles much more frequently. However, the nominal working life of a lithium car battery is in round numbers closer to 10 years at present – 1200 recharges to 1500 recharges depending on type. Thus there will be at least one, possibly more battery replacements in the life of the vehicle. This is qualified by the impetus to replace a battery if a much better one at a better price becomes available sooner than nominal life time.

Naturally I wish that some graphene or ‘fullerene based capacitor power cell will replace the battery concept with many more recharges and only 5 minutes per charge! That’s the hype. I hesitate to refer to ultra extra super capacitors as all those terms are taken now for relatively small stuff so I borrow the power cell/ whatever from science fiction.

Beaker January 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

At the end of that 10 year period of use, you may be well advised to replace the battery in your car, but that does not mean that the battery no longer has value. If an old car battery only has 80% of its original capacity it is a problem for using the car, but as a grid connected power store, where the shed cares little for weight and compact dimensions.
I don’t have the source to hand but I remember news of proposals for turning retired car batteries into domestic power stores (charging when cheap, powering the house at higher marginal costs) was spiked by a big Japanese bank securing the option on the reuse of Nissan-Renault batteries for warehouse size grid storage batteries.

noelfuller January 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Good point! Roll on the hybrid grid/off-line systems.

Meanwhile my income from the grid should cover battery replacement if That car at last becomes available this quarter and I happen to live and drive that long. As I can’t replace capital I have to make it replace itself as far as possible.

noelfuller January 28, 2014 at 9:12 pm
Bob Bingham January 31, 2014 at 8:24 am

I recently moved into the middle of town and now hardly use the car at all so I have almost no fuel bill. I also put solar panels on the roof and pay almost nothing for electricity. Its only when writing this that I become aware of how much cheaper it is to live in town.

Phil Scadden January 31, 2014 at 8:58 am

Yep. From energy point of view, urban dwellers in hong kong, New york etc without cars are able to live with minimal use while enjoying urban lifestyle. Increasing population density makes sustainable energy use so much easier. Getting off the lifestyle blocks and living close to work in cities with twice the current density is a serious step towards sustainability.

Kiwiiano January 31, 2014 at 9:37 am

That still leaves an open question about the sustainability of the high density life-style. The infrastructure support needed for housing, water, sewerage, garbage, food, etc. Of course all of those apply to suburban and rural situations, plus their commuting costs.
Frankly, I believe it’s the impossible expectations we have from 150 years of ridiculously cheap fossil energy that will be the problem.
Anyone want to bet that the lifestyle blocks of early 2000′s will be the peasant farmers of the late 2000′s?

Phil Scadden January 31, 2014 at 10:04 am

I think it is a bad idea to confuse “sustainable” with “self-sufficient”. There isnt enough arable land on worldwide basis to have everyone on lifestyle block. The economies of scale apply big time. In the NZ case it is easy to grow enough biofuel to sustain agriculture and industrial transportation. You need a LOT of windmills to get everyone to work with electric cars however. Dense cities with small commute distances and efficient public transport make that a lot easier. You frankly need a certain pop density for public transport to work well.

If you can live on your lifestyle block without commuting and by offgrid as well, then your impact is better but commuting energy costs trump household energy costs beyond quite short commute distances.

Of course, keeping family size to 2 or less is the other big contribution to long term sustainability.

Phil Scadden January 31, 2014 at 10:40 am

I’ll further add to that for high density lifestyles. Apartment blocks minimize embodied energy in housing (shared walls etc), maximize efficiency in delivery of services such as water and sewage, and if you look at Finnish designs in very cold part of the world, be extremely efficient in terms of heating. Modern agriculture minimizes food cost by economies of scale and makes up a very small part of our energy bill. I frankly dont see big issues in the NZ setting.

Agriculture has a lot more problem with FF dependence in other parts of the world unfortunately.

Previous post:

Next post: